Some of the most personal growth I have ever experienced happened in the four year span I spent as a Military Training Instructor in the United State Air Force. Four years under that symbolic campaign hat changed me for the better through both the positive and negative experiences that I came across.
A laid back individual with a calm demeanor, that was me. That is until I found myself in a world that was the complete opposite of that. Training new recruits demands more out of a person than being laid back.
I was sweating, nervous, stressed and lost my voice on multiple occasions, but I was growing even if it didn’t feel like it in those moments. I grew as I was training, teaching, learning, mentoring, speaking in front of large crowds when I was scared to death to speak in front of anyone and so much more. It was nerve-racking and at times, seemed undoable, but I came out the other end successful.
I realized there was one reason why I had so much growth during that time. It was the magic of being uncomfortable.
The hat took me out of my comfort zone. It wasn’t a small step I took outside of my comfort zone. No, I was launched as far as possible from the place I knew so well.
If you want to grow in any aspect of your life, getting uncomfortable is a must. People work to get comfortable, but this is a trap. Comfort is complacency and as I was once told, complacency kills. It may not kill you literally, but it kills your drive, your motivation, your energy, your relationships and you as a person.
This is not to say that you shouldn’t enjoy the fruits of your labor, vacation or some down time. Do it, but down stay there. Don’t get sucked into the trap of comfort and become complacent.
We must continually strive to grow. Whether that’s physically, spiritually, mentally or with your personal and professional relationships. Grow! This means breaking the barriers of your comfort zone and doing the things that don’t naturally or easily come to you. Public speaking is a big one. If you have a fear of public speaking, the only way to get past it is by actually speaking in public. You can practice in front of the mirror all you want, but you won’t become a better public speaker until you get in front of that crowd.
Get uncomfortable in the same way athletes continue to push when their muscles are screaming and their lungs are on fire. Face your fears, get uncomfortable and you will grow larger than life.